In the last few weeks Southampton have endured a depressing slide down the Premier League table, going from Champions League contenders in early November to Europa League hopefuls ahead of the Christmas period.
After five games without a win in the league, including four straight defeats, Tuesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United should have provided a welcome relief. But it ended in further heartbreak for the Saints fans.
Former Manchester United midfielder Park Ji sung has claimed that he is surprised to see Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba return back to the Premier league with Chelsea. The Chelsea legend came back to the club two years after leaving.
During this period, he has played in China and Turkey. At the age of 36, he is almost certain to have lost his place and strength that made him a force to reckon with in the Premier League. Drogba remains as one of best Africans to have played in the English game.
The Premier League season is almost exactly a third of the way through. The international breaks, all three of them, have meant a disjointed campaign so far but there is no international calendar until well into 2015. So, players can now make club football their main focus for several months.
With the busy Christmas programme to come, we can therefore get some idea of who are likely to be in the top four and who will struggle to avoid relegation.
Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller claims that he was never close to a move to Manchester United despite several rumours claiming that the Premier League outfit had made an offer for him. It was only a few weeks ago when the German international confirmed that United were one of clubs interested in signing him. However, he has expressed that he is extremely happy at the Allianz arena and is not looking for a move at this point in his career. Müller is on the verge of becoming a Bayern Munich legend after having won numerous accolades despite being only 24 years old.
Danny Welbeck showed with his two goals for England against Switzerland that Arsenal may well have secured the best signing of the summer when they landed the Manchester United striker on deadline day.
The 23-year-old showed pace, intelligence and a clinical instinct in front of goal as he put the finishing touches to a fine display by Roy Hodgson’s men as they beat the Swiss 2-0 in Basel to take control of Euro 2016 qualifying Group E.
While Leeds United fans were universally astounded to see new owner Massimo Cellino hire the unknown David Hockaday as head coach during the summer, the Elland Road faithful only had to wait 70 days before the former Forest Green boss was shown the door after an underwhelming start to the season.
With the Championship season still very much in its infancy, Leeds will now be looking to get a new head coach in place who can salvage something out of this campaign.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is regarded as one of the best in the world. He enhanced his reputation even further by performing a starring role for the German national team at the World Cup 2014. Despite being a goalkeeper, Neuer almost performed like a sweeper for most of the tournament and it helped Germany avoid a number of goals. Germany’s back four is certainly not the quickest due to the presence of players like Per Mertesacker, but manager Joachim Loew has been able to play a high-line because of Neuer’s presence.
Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has revealed that he would love to see the club signed Bayern Munich star Toni Kroos, who is widely expected to depart German football in the summer. The 24-year-old is out of contract next summer. Hence, Bayern Munich will be willing to accept a lower transfer fee rather than lose him on a free transfer next summer. Manchester United were thought to be one of the clubs heavily interested in him a few months ago. Now, the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid have also entered into the race to sign the German international.
Wayne Rooney has unusually compared himself with former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in order to show that he is not a player with a lot of ego. Rooney was once spoken of as the next great player in the world, but he is yet to reach the heights attained by the likes of Ronaldo. After having played for several years with Ronaldo, Rooney was often seen to hit new heights. However, it has never come, but Ronaldo has gone on to lift more FIFA Ballon d’Or awards. Rooney has responded to the criticism that he has not delivered in the last few years.
New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has claimed that he wants to win the Premier league title in his first season at the club. This comes as an ambitious statement from the Dutchman, who has won league titles in each and every one of his previous clubs. Van Gaal has managed with the likes of Ajax, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich in his previous managerial jobs with club teams. He was already one of the favourite to replace Alex Ferguson when the Scot announced his retirement in 2005. Now, he has been the club’s first choice after they parted company with David Moyes.